So originally, I read this article that claimed that the battery in the Tesla launched on the Falcon Heavy would last for about 12 hours after launch. The live video stream was only broadcast for about 4 hours, and indeed, Elon Musk seemed to confirm that perhaps we had received the last picture from Starman on Instagram on Wednesday the 7th, the day after the launch.

But today, I saw an article on the UK's "Express" news site that provided a link to http://www.whereisroadster.com/, which provides current location data of the roadster. This site claims "Coming Soon:...View from Roadster of Earth, Mars". Is this possible? And how are they tracking the roadster's progress? Isn't the battery long dead by now?

Maybe it will be a "simulated view" (like the earlier launch 3D video models), and maybe they are just modeling the projected path, but I'm hoping someone else has more detailed information.

Update 02-10-2018:

Apparently folks have been busy cataloging and tracking the Roadster. CNN via MSN says astronomers have been using the Horizons database to get the projected location of the Roadster in order to get a final few pictures before it's too far away. You can also search "Roadster" on orbitsimulator.com.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well they mean the battery in the Falcon 9 2nd stage. The battery in the Roadster is likely to have been removed. It's not space-rated. While it has some internal temperature stabilization (heaters, coolers, liquid circulation) I don't think it can handle exposure to vacuum or the temperature variations that will happen when exposed to space. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 9 '18 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh - Great point! I don't think any of the news I read made that clear, but it makes perfect sense. $\endgroup$ – Ogre Psalm33 Feb 9 '18 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh There actually isn't any proof that the battery was removed from the Roadster. Nothing on the roadster is space rated, so... Batteries usually aren't an issue, especially for short term usage. The mass of a Roadster is pretty close to the mass of the spacecraft as listed in numerous sites, so it seems likely that it still does have the batteries, but it's hard to say. In any case, they probably weren't doing much, if anything. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 9 '18 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ @PearsonArtPhoto Ya... while it's likely the liquid cooling that snakes in thin-walled, flattened plastic tubing between every one of the individual cells would be problematic in a vacuum, maybe draining the liquid (and probably most of the charge) would be enough to "safe" it. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 9 '18 at 14:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Right. I haven't seen any articles or info that gives much in the way of technical details about how the Roadster was prepped, so we may not know unless someone asks Elon, or a SpaceX employee with inside knowledge pipes in. $\endgroup$ – Ogre Psalm33 Feb 9 '18 at 15:13

As the actual author of said website, all that will be provided is simulated views. The orientation of the car can't be known, nor can anything else. I will clarify this in the next update I will push out in a moment.

The data I use propagates the last known position and speed of the Roadster to roughly where it should be now. It will gradually become less certain with time, as the gravitational force of the planets slowly change it's orbit, but it should be close enough for a guess.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.